Recitative: The Persuasive Tenor of Jazz Culture in Langston Hughes, Billy Strayhorn, and John Coltrane

Andrew Vogel

Jazz is more than music. Jazz is a culture defined by a progressive ethos encoded in sound. By putting the poetry and music of Langston Hughes, Billy Strayhorn, and John Coltrane into conversation, this essay demonstrates the versatility and vitality of jazz culture. However, jazz culture has come to be drowned out in America today, and so I argue for a return to the voices of jazz's past so that we can give a new ear to jazz artists working today. Such listening should be seen as a means to reinvigorate progressive values today and in the future.

scene from speakeasy jazz party

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Andrew Vogel is a professor of American Modernism at Kutztown State University of Pennsylvania. Beside jazz culture, he also studies and teaches road culture and poetry. His desert island movie is The Blues Brothers, because it has great music, and it's about how art is a force for good.

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